This is a topic that has been hitting the air waves and news channels quite a bit lately. You have been hearing about the high cell phone bills and the irate fathers when they realize how many of these things their daughters actually send, but you have not heard about this new trend.
Before I get into the topic of this post, I want to talk to you about a new story that was unveiled today. I personally send about 15,000 text messages a month. (This is both sent and received.) That, to me, is a LOT of stinking text messages. A friend of mine sends maybe fifty a month and thinks that is too many. (Of course, most of you don’t realize (at least the ones of you that are not text message addicts) that I can send a few hundred in one conversation. I know, why not pick up the phone and call them. I will save that discussion for a later time but just trust me, it is necessary to send that many a month with the social life that I lead.)
The story that hit the news stand this morning was about a 29 year old and his best friend, who has reached the 30 mark, trying to break the single month text message record. The record, and I am not even sure if it was set prior to today, was somewhere in the fifty to sixty thousand range. (If someone can quote me on the previous record, you will win a prize!)
These two set out to break that record. And they made sure their T-Mobil (who has T-Mobil these days) plan had the unlimited message plan before they set out to break this record. So the guys set out to send as many texts as they can and spend the entire month reaching a grand total that is something that makes my thumbs hurt. They hit a total of over 217,000 text messages! I mean, think about that for a second. Of course, that record comes with a lot of single word responses, but my goodness that is a lot of text messages. Some thumbs are sore after this one. And some wallets.
These boys actually received a bill from T-Mobil that was shipped in a box! This is not the first time we have heard this story, of a cell phone provider sending a bill in a box (remember the girl that used her iPhone in the first few weeks to send as many texts as she could? Her bill came in a box as well.) This box, however, cost T-Mobil over $20 to send to the text message maniac. Who can guess how much that bill was? Give up? It was over twenty-sex thousand dollars! And they had an unlimited message plan. (There is a lot more to this story, but that is not why I am here today. I just wanted you to share in the glory that is 200,000+ text messages in one month. Never will I again say that I send a lot of text messages!
The reason I am here is this new trend that has surpassed anything that text messaging can bring to the table. This is something that I was unsure how to approach for a post. This was something that I wanted to make sure I understood the roots of before I began my research. And thanks to an in depth report and coverage on this topic by my friend Kim Iverson, I was able to think about a correct response. The fad that I am talking about has been coined Sexting.
Sexting involves guys and gals taking provocative images of themselves and sending them via text message. A standard text message is also known as an SMS (short message system) and these image based text messages are known as MMS (who wants a prize?) All of you loyal iPhone holders out there understand the pain of having to log in to see your MMS (but not for long with the new update coming this June) so this does not apply to you nearly as much. (I actually could care less about the MMS on the iPhone. The only reason I am excited to get it is simply because other people, who do not have iPhones, send me those all the time and I have to take the time to log in. Truth be told, I rarely do.)
So back to the sexting. This is a trend that caught on with younger cell phone users in the previous few months. It was not until a parent (of a young 17 year old girl) found a picture of her 18 year old boyfriend that you would not want your mother seeing. She immediately became outraged, canceled her daughters cell phone coverage, and threatened charges against the boy. (That is where they will have some leverage. They (again with the they) are going to have to take immediate action for the parent’s sake. Tell an 18 year old kid that he could go to jail for being a sexual predator and see what happens. That will threaten his chances of getting into college, getting a job, and even buying a home. Thanks to the hard work of Chris Hansen, once you are on the sexual predator list, you are on there for life.)
But the reason why this interests me so much is that the ones sending the provocative images are not the ones you might think. When I first heard about this my mind ran straight to College Humor. I see the images of people at frat parties taking picture of their best friend’s girlfriend doing something that alcohol induced. Or the images that a stressful relationship causes in hopes of saving it by sending long distance love. (I am sure this is something that web cams have been seeing for years with guys at war over seas and long distance relationships where the couple sees each other only a few times a year.)
But what is the sudden attraction to taking a stand against this? If you are 18 years or older it is perfectly legal, right? (I do not condone this sort of behavior but if you are an adult and are sending pictures of your body to another adult, then who has the right to stop you?) This all falls back onto the under age generation that has figured out how to use this technology for every angle possible. It is similar to the legalization of marijuana. It is illegal, so people use it. It is a rush to do something illegal no matter how it makes you feel. If they would make it legal, I guarantee that you would see not only a drop in the use of it, but a rise in our economy for those that feel they are addicted to it paying outrageous taxes on it. (By the way, it is not a substance that you can become addicted to.)
I just wanted to raise one, awareness about this, and two, get you guys talking about it. What are your thoughts on this taken for granted technology being used for sexual purposes? Do you text? Do you sext? Do you feel that there should be legal action taken to those that are under the age of 18 and sext to their girlfriends and boyfriends? And if so, what should their punishment be?
This has potential to be an interesting topic for discussion. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and reading your responses.